VALDOSTA -- The Valdosta Board of Education voted unanimously to begin pursuing the continuation of its Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Monday.

Facilities Committee Chairman Ricky Rowe, District 8, requested permission to start developing a list of structural and technological needs for the Valdosta City School System. He said this would be accomplished under the direction of Bill Aldrich, director of operations.

Under the first and second SPLOST referendums, Valdosta City School System leaders constructed a new Sallas-Mahone Elementary School, J.L. Lomax Elementary School, Valdosta

Middle School and Valdosta High School Performing Arts Center. They purchased new buses and removed portable units by expanding the number of classrooms at its various campuses.

Valdosta Board of Education Vice Chairman Warren Lee, District 3, asked that some measures be taken to ensure black contractors and subcontractors benefit financially from the upcoming SPLOST, assuming its approved. He said they have not been so fortunate in the past.

Typically, the Valdosta Board of Education awards contracts to the lowest qualified bidder.

Superintendent Sam Allen updated the Valdosta Board of Education on the numbers of child victims of Hurricane Katrina enrolled in the Valdosta City School System. As of Friday afternoon, there were 16 total attending classes at J.L. Lomax Elementary School, Sallas-Mahone Elementary School, S.L. Mason Elementary School, W.G. Nunn Elementary School, Southeast Elementary School, J.L. Newbern Middle School, Valdosta Middle School, and Valdosta High School.

Allen said he does not anticipate enrolling more than 30 Hurricane Katrina victims in the Valdosta City School System. He said many of their parents have indicated they are in a transition phase and don't want their children to be idle.

Under the McKinney-Vento Act, Allen said these children must be enrolled in the school system where they are temporarily residing. He said they have been granted a temporary waiver of the immunization certification and transfer of records requirements. All receive an automatic free lunch.

State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox said Georgia had 7,305 child victims of Hurricane Katrina enrolled in its schools as of Monday.

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